With the upcoming election, I’m hearing “platform” mentioned a lot when describing candidates and their political parties. Of course, that’s more about soapbox – the stage candidates and their supporters speak from – than sandbox – the space where developers code from. The irony is that politicians, historically referred to as public servants, were intended to be programmed by their constituents. You might say democracy was originally deployed as crowd-sourced government.
Another word we use a lot with platforms is ecosystem. A platform becomes an ecosystem when it achieves ability to foster and maintain growth of applications within itself. In finishing up a presentation recently I came across this image reminding me that many words in the technology lexicon are usually rooted in a more natural and logical context. It’s amazing how many additional tech-related words we find in the definition of ecosystem. As defined in wikipedia: An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system.
Ecosystem is about good, successful, likely fortuitous design where something can evolve into a nurturing environment. I think understanding the original, baseline meanings and natural occurrences of the common words in technology can help redefine how we strategically use them today.